Riverview Ranch & Resort

Horse Ranch and petting farm

Pony Rides and Petting Zoo.

Petting zoo, canoe/kayaks, bikes, snow sleds included in resort price.
We also welcome visitors who don't stay here.

By Appointment only. We plan feeding schedules around appointments so horses are well fed and calm when visitors meet them up close.

We cater to kids and beginners who want to go slow.
Everything is slow, controlled, and safe.
No Trail Rides. We might allow free rein riding, at a walk, on case by case basis.
Ask about taking lessons if you want to go faster than a walk.
Strictly enforced 200 lb. weight limit for riding.

Outdoor Pony Rides
Whatever the weather, there are always fun things to do at the ranch. Our 24,440 square foot equestrian center has a 60' x 160' indoor riding arena for riding on rainy days, and lots of animals for your family to meet in the indoor stables.

Get to Know our 7 full size Horses, Miniature Horse, 3 Dogs, 2 Goats, Miniature Pigs, Guinea Pigs, chickens, ducks, Unicorns*, and Turtles.

Horseback Riding, Petting Zoo, Boating,
or any Combination.

Liability waiver required for all activities. ALL ADULTS MUST SIGN - whether riding or not! If you won't sign the waiver, please don't come onto the propterty.

Max Group size: 6 persons.
(Everyone over two years old who comes onto the property is counted in the group total, whether riding or not)
Pricing, Options, and FAQs
We accept: Cash, Venmo, Visa, Discover, Mastercard.

Call to reserve a time at 815-776-9945 - off or 608-331-0000 - cell.

Guests staying in our Resort can pet the wandering zoo any time the animals are available and may pet horses over the fence, but may not enter horse enclosures unescorted. The pigs and dogs wander in and out of the lobby often. The goats, chickens, and ducks wander all around outside.
"Guided" petting zoo includes petting the horses in the pasture or arena under a Wrangler's supervision, hand-feeding chickens, meeting the ducks, petting the pigs and goats.
Wraingler Roger will give safety instructions and teach kids how to approach animals safely. It is best (safer) to come as a family unit. Kids tend to be more responsive to safety instructions when both parents are nearby. If visitors do not respond to safety instructions we will limit or discontinue the experience.

Therapeutic Horseback Riding (THR) and Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) have been shown to be beneficial to humans.

Galena Dude Ranch & Farm Stay

Just being around horses can decrease anxiety, increase self-esteem, and provides "excitement without stress." The sciense is very interesting and compelling.

"Peacefully interacting with horses may move people to a heightened receptive state that enhances non-verbal communication."

Read more

Horseback Riding and Critters

Horseback Riding and Goats
We give safe, slow horseback rides to beginners. Critters often follow us around. Pet the goats while your kids ride.
Say hello to Obelix, our baby miniature pig. Born on Feb 7, 2022. This is a video of 2 month old Obi dreaming of food.

No Open Toe Shoes!!!!!!

This 3 min video shows what you can expect when meeting the horses and goats in the pasture guided petting zoo. We no longer allow open toe shoes near horses. This video shows why. Bring shoes that will protect your toes. Seriously folks, don't wear open toe shoes around horses! You're going to want to keep your toes. Wrangler Roger never ever wears open toe shoes near horses. Neither should you.

Petting Farm
Take Bullseye, the mini-horse, for a family walk down beautiful River Road. Clippity clop clippity clop.

Petting Farm
Put a chicken on your shoulder and see your family's faces light up.

Petting Farm
Meet Aflac, Bflac, and Matilda. Did you know a male duck is called a drake and a female duck is called a duck? Aflac and Bflac are drakes and Matilda is a duck. Also pictured here are our young hens Carmel, Featherly, Speckles, and Sunshine.

Petting Farm
Christmas is big like Texas around here. Amazing decorations planned for 2022. Nala, the mini dacshund, can't wait. Please, please, please watch out for the little dogs as you arrive and when you back out of your parking spot. They like to sit or stand behind car tires in driver blind spots.


New Arrivals: Our guinea pig, Penelope, gave birth to three healthy and super cute baby guinea pigs on 10/24/2020.

Galena Dude Ranch & Farm Stay
We have a miniature pig named Ferkelchen, born on 8/7/20. Her nickname is Kiki. This pig has been described as "Too Cute for this World." Also shown here is our Yorkie, Pepper.

Galena Dude Ranch & Farm Stay
Kiki loves food. You will see her wandering around looking for an unsecured bag of chicken food, duck food, horse food, dog food, or people food anywhere she can find it, including bags of trash carelessly left on the floor. But sometimes she likes to take a break from her strenuous search to enjoy a nice belly rub. If she plops over on her side in front of you she is saying she trusts you, and wants you to rub her tummy.

Petting zoo
Max, the Rooster, likes to Cocka-Doodle-Doo (Ki-kiri-ki in German). Strupel, the hen, lays green eggs for us.

Petting Zoo
The animals are often kept in the stalls. The goats, pig and dogs walk in and out of the horses' stalls and pastures.

Petting Farm
Our German Shepard, Bessie, keeps an eye on our menagerie rapscallion, Baltazaar the goat.

Chick on her shoulder This Mom has a chick on her shoulder.

Unicorn in Flight
Super Pig breaking the Snooze Barrier

Unicorn in Flight
F/A-18 breaking the Sound Barrier.

Liability Waiver
When you enter the barn you will see a poster of the Illinois Equine Activity Liability Act
Guests are not allowed in the barn or any of the horse enclosures unless escorted by a wrangler. Guests are asked not to enter any of the spaces labeled "private." These are the owner's living quarters and office.

Our Horses

Outdoor Pony Rides
Evening Feeding: Walk among and pet our horses while they calmly finish their dinner.

Outdoor Pony Rides
Our miniature horse "Bullseye" is sweet and wonderful with kids. He loves to have his mane combed and brushed. Foaled - April, 2009.

Horseback riding in Galena
Aiyasha - American Saddlebred / Akal Teke mix. Sweet and Beautiful. Gelding. Dam (Mother): Aiyana, Sire: Pascha (Nez Perce Dreamer) Inseparable from Aiyana, his Mommy. Foaled - April, 2007. Aiyasha is very gentle and loves to be petted, just like all our horses. We have trained the horses to allow small animals like goats, dogs, miniature pigs and small humans, to walk among them safely. We give guests a safety lecture before allowing them to enter horse enclosures. Guests are not allowed to enter horse enclosures unless they are accompanied by a wrangler. We plan guest visits around the feeding schedule so horses are always relaxed and well fed when guests enter their domain. We do not allow guests to hand-feed the horses unless specifically allowed and supervised by a wrangler, and never when guests are inside the horse enclosure.

Pony ride on a unicorn horse
*Two of our horses have rare blue eyes. We have troll friends who sell us pixie dust to magically transform a horse into a unicorn on special occasions. Pictured here is Lacy, our youngest Transformer-Unicorn. Lacy is a Quarter Horse / Akal Teke mix. Dam (Mother): Sisi, Sire (Father): Pascha (Nez Perce Dreamer) Foaled - July 2009.

blue eyed horse *Starsky is our other blue eyed horse. - Quarter Horse, Gelding. Dam (Mother): Sisi, Sire (Father): Sir Buck n Skip Foaled - 4/14/06

Ride a Transformer Horse Unicorn
Starsky (Star Skipper) can become a Unicorn for $20.

Unicorn in Flight
Warning: Flying on a Unicorn is considered extremely adventurous, so we do not allow children to ride our Unicorns in flight except in cases of extreme imagination;)

horses in petting zoo
We have eight horses. Come pet them while they vie for your affection from their stalls.

horseback ride no trail rides on Starbuck
Spirit - (Cool Starbuck) Quarter Horse - Dam (Mother): Sisi, Sire (Father): Sir Buck n Skip Foaled - 4/11/07

Friesian horse rides and petting farm, Valiant
Valiant Star - Friesian/Quarter Horse sport horse. Mare. Dam (Mother): Sisi, Sire (Father): Von Faust. Valiant is black in winter and bleaches dark brown in summer. Foaled - 4/18/05

Rosie loves horse grooming
Rosalie (Rosie) Throoughbred/American Saddlebred sport horse. Mare. Dam (Mother): Aiyana, Sire (Father): Movin to the Music (Winnings). Rosie was Foaled - April, 2007. We named our horse after a very dear family friend, Rosalie Joy Neckels, who passed away too young.

Aiyana boss mare horse riding
Aiyana - American Saddle Bred. Smooth riding gaited mare. Boss of the Herd. Foaled - 4/18/99. Aiyana is pictured here observing our lobby through the Peoplearium we have provided for the horses' amusement. Also pictured here is Sabina observing horses through the Equuarium in our lobby. Bringing the horses into our lobby through this unique plexiglass window helps us bond with the horses and helps them relate to us as part of the herd.

Snow Sledding (free for resort guests)

On snowy days our resort guests can borrow our snow sleds to slide down our sledding hills. This photo shows the north pasture hill with snow. Steep at top and shallow slope at bottom. We have a smaller hill on the south side. Aiyana boss mare horse riding
Ask about sledding behind a horse. Wrangler Roger can ride a horse and tow sledders behind the horse on a long rope.

More photos showing what we do at Riverview Ranch.

Why Don't our horses have shoes?
Jim Gaffigan explains:
@jimgaffigan You think the reason #horses skip is because their feet hurt? #horsesoftiktok #horseshoe #joke #standupcomedian #horse ? original sound - Jim Gaffigan

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